The uncommon leaf shape of kyobancha makes it a good addition for the tea enthusiast’s collection. They are unrolled and quite large, although they break easily.
If you’ve never seen kyobancha before imagine some brown, dried tree leaves in autumn .
I wanted to brew just one cup, so I used a small amount of tea in my kyusu. However, kyobancha is usually brewed for many cups in a larger pot with boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Measuring by teaspoons won’t work well because the leaves have more volume than rolled ones, so if in doubt it’s better to add more. It’s ok if you break some of the leaves and stems, it won’t alter the taste.
It’s aroma is similar to houjicha, it has a roasted component to it. When brewed, the liquid has an amber color.
While I was in Japan I tasted a kyobancha that was heavily roasted, it was smoky. This one, surprisingly, is very light and mellow.
The taste is woodsy, with no noticeable astringency nor bitterness, it even has a slight sweetness!
Tasting this kyobancha, I learned that the degree of roasting makes a big difference in different aspects of the resulting tea.
This tea is not only rare, but affordable. If you’re interested, take a look at the Yunomi.us kyobancha page.